Story by Sarah Krier. Sarah is an undergraduate student majoring in LSC and the Department of Life Sciences Communication 2016-17 Lenore Landry Scholar.
LSC faculty are leaders in the science communication field, and in addition to their teaching, research, and outreach roles within the university, many also pursue science communication work at the local, regional, and national scale. LSC senior lecturer Ron Seely recently lent his expertise to a worthwhile regional effort – protecting the Great Lakes.
In September 2016 the Mary Griggs Burke Center for Freshwater Innovation at Northland College invited Seely to attend a two-day summit about the future of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) and write a white paper about the issue. The initiative aims to clean and protect the Great Lakes’ water resources with federal funding.
Seely used the conference discussions among biologists, limnologists, ecologists, and other scientific professionals to produce a digestible and convincing document about the challenges facing the lake. That said, his work started well before the conference. Ron spent months preparing for the summit by researching the biological processes of freshwater resources and the effects of pollution, biodiversity, and water quality on the Great Lake’s ecosystem.
Ron agrees these efforts paid off. “It’s a great comfort when you sit down to write something like this to have a huge stack of information to pull from. I had a better handle on the discussion as it happened. In the end, I went to the summit pretty well prepared and I think that’s a good lesson for a writer. You can’t really spend too much time understanding your topic.”
According to the summit and Seely’s white paper, the benefits provided by the GLRI are clear. The program, which started in 2010, has made tremendous positive strides to improve the health of the Great Lakes. “All the experts who had been involved pointed out that it is this tremendously successful bipartisan program,” noted Seely.
Since its publication last fall the white paper has passed through the hands of important decision makers and continues to make the rounds among congressional delegates involved in determining the future of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.